MIRANDA Griffiths is feeling good about the start of the Tour of the Goldfields today.
Being out of contention for major honours in the elite National Road Series gives Griffiths and her Holden Women’s Cycling teammates the freedom to attack the Ballarat event any way they like.
“There’s no pressure,” the 32-year-old said.
Although Griffiths is the team leader, she says the team has an even spread of talent and it will be all about opportunity.
Katrin Garfoot and Ruth Corset go into the tour fighting for the NRS title.
Garfoot leads the reigning champion by just three points.
The rivals and their teams will be watching each other like hawks, with Garfoot focusing on covering every move Corset makes to ensure she protects her lead.
Griffiths said with those two watching each other, opportunities should open up for other teams to stake a claim in any of the four stages.
Griffiths said last year’s Tour of the Goldfields stood out as one of the most enjoyable of the NRS.
She said with narrow roads and cross-winds, the three-day challenge had an Europeans flavour.
The variety was also appealing, with a criterium to open the tour, a rare team time trial and two road races.
Griffiths has had a year packed with variety.
She opened the road season in NRS before joining a development team in Europe in August – her first overseas experience.
“I was in good shape when I got back, but I had a rest. I’ve been back in training four weeks,” the former triathlete said.
Griffiths believes the team trial at Burrumbeet tomorrow might decide who wins the tour.
TODAY’S Tour of the Goldfields criterium in Victoria Park will be preceded by Victorian Schools Cycling Cup finals at the same venue from 9am to 2pm.
TOUR OF THE GOLDFIELDS
Stage 1: Victoria Park criterium, 3pm
Stage 2: 20km time trial at Burrumbeet (start/finish Soldiers Reserve Hall), 11am
Stage 3: 58km road race at Burrumbeet (start/finish Soldiers Reserve Hall), 2.30pm
Stage 4: 82km road race at Dunnstown (start Old Melbourne Road/finish Kryal Castle), 9am